23 May 2008

txt is gr8 4 u?

David Crystal is a prolific writer, and his Language and the Internet was my bible when I was writing my Master's dissertation. He has written a new book on texting, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 , which will be published in July, and here is the Amazon blurb:

This book takes a long hard look at the text-messaging phenomenon and its effects on literacy, language, and society. Young people who seem to spend much of their time texting sometimes appear unable or unwilling to write much else. Media outrage has ensued. "It is bleak, bald, sad shorthand," writes a commentator in the UK Guardian. "It masks dyslexia, poor spelling, and mental laziness." Exam answers using textese and reports that examiners find them acceptable have led to headlines in the tabloids and leaders in the qualities. Do young people text as much as people think? Do adults? Does texting spell the end of literacy? Is there a panic in the media? David Crystal looks at the evidence. He investigates how texting began and who uses it, why and what for. He shows how to interpret its mix of pictograms, logograms, abbreviations, symbols, and wordplay, and how it works in different languages.He explores the ways similar devices have been used in different eras and discovers that the texting system of conveying sounds and meaning goes back a long way, all the way in fact to the origins of writing - and he concludes that far from hindering literacy, texting may turn out to help it.

There is an article on his research here, and Prof. Crystal is quoted as saying: "The panic about texting and its effects on language is totally misplaced." I'll be looking forward to reading the book, on a sunny day in July...

22 May 2008

Chocolate community

Nancy White writes a very interesting blog on community, networks, blogging, but today, she sends us to this report on a study in the UK where they are looking for participants - they want women who will agree to eat chocolate every day. All I can say is, show me the chocolate...

02 May 2008

Digital art and happiness

Yesterday, on May 1st, 76 people loved you, 20 people loved him and 14 people loved her. Some more people loved a photograph or a picture, and a few even loved their job... over 2000 took pictures of something they loved, and the first page shows an abundance of blue and yellow in those photos. It is all part of an art project, Lovelines , which is linked to a commercial venture, and funded by a company who make mints. This is part of their statement:

Through large scale blog analysis, Lovelines illuminates the topography of the emotional landscape between love and hate, as experienced by countless normal humans keeping personal online journals.

The artists have already created a similar (and much bigger) project, We Feel Fine , which started in 2005 and makes art from data mining. If you open it on the menu at the top, you can select a country, an age group, a feeling, and see a ballet of colourful little balls bouncing around your screen, each one representing a sentence from a blog, each sentence evoking a feeling. I tried happiness for Ireland, and got a lot of negatives, but on January 5th, 2007, a 29 year old woman in Malahide was happy, and blogging about it.